During worship at our church on Sunday, we celebrated the first Sunday of Advent. As we do each year, we used the Advent Wreath as a way to mark the Sundays before Christmas. During worship, I shared a story about the origin of the Advent Wreath.
The first Advent Wreath was developed by a German pastor and missionary, Johann Hinrich Wichern. In 1833, he started a mission school in Hamburg, which taught children from poor neighborhoods nearby. Children were excited about the coming of Christmas, and as the holiday approached, they would ask repeatedly, “Is this Christmas Day? When will Christmas arrive?”
Pastor Wichern wanted to help the children learn when Christmas would arrive, so he took a wheel from a cart and attached four large candles to it. One candle marked each Sunday in Advent. Between the Sunday candles, he attached smaller candles for weekdays. He would light one candle each day during Advent. By watching the candles burning, children learned when Christmas was coming. In later years, Wichern attached pine boughs as a reminder that God offers new life through Jesus Christ.
In our worship, we light one candle each of the four Sundays during Advent. Three blue candles remind us of Peace, Hope, and Love. One pink candle reminds us of Joy. In the center, a large white candle is the Christ Candle, which we will light during our Christmas Eve service.
I hope your Advent will be filled with Peace, Hope, Joy, and Love.